ERIC RICARD, BEN SUAREZ, AND STUART SMALLWOOD ADVANCE TO U.S. OPEN SECTIONAL QUALIFIER

May 10, 2018 — Alexandria, LA

You had to ‘go low’ on Thursday at the Louisiana Local U.S. Open Qualifier in order to advance.  Shreveport’s Eric Ricard, Ben Suarez from DeRidder, LA, and Stuart Smallwood from Paris, TX, all fired six-under par 66s at Alexandria’s OakWing Golf Club and captured the three qualifying slots allotted to the Louisiana site.  All three players will advance to 36-hole Sectional Qualifying with qualifiers from the Sectional sites advancing to the 118th U.S. Open Championship at Shinnecock Hills on Long Island, NY, June 14-17.

Grady Brame, Jr., from Hammond, LA, and Chuck Spears from Pineville, LA, finished one shot behind with five-under par 67s.  Local golfer Spears made birdie on the third playoff hole to claim the first alternate spot, with Brame, Jr. settling for second alternate.

The weather was perfect and the Jim Lipe-designed OakWing track, which will host the Louisiana Golf Association’s Senior Amateur Championship next week, was in great shape in spite of the unseasonably cool spring in central Louisiana. 

Ricard, a former Louisiana Amateur Champion (2013) and member of the 2015 LSU National Championship squad, started at 9:20 AM and shot a one-under par 35 on the front with three birdies and two bogeys.   A bogey-free five-under par 31 on the inward nine was enough to claim his spot with a six-under 66. 

Suarez, Head Golf Professional at LGA Member Club Beauregard Country Club in DeRidder, started in the first group at 8:00 AM and fired an identical 35-31/66, with three birdies and two bogeys on the front, and a bogey-free back nine with five consecutive birdies on holes 11, 12, 13, 14, and 15.

Smallwood, in the second group of the day sandwiched between the Suarez and Ricard groups, bogeyed two of his first three holes, then caught fire by shooting eight-under par on the last 15 holes with birdies on holes 4, 9, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, and 17, for his 36-30/66.

There were a total of 45 competitors at this Local Qualifier conducted by the Louisiana Golf Association, in association with the USGA.  OakWing GC was set up to a par of 72 at 6,985 yards. 

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